East Rutherford, NJ — Keyon Dooling is genuine. To the point where I felt bad after he gently chided me for asking about his “prized outfit,” because it could’ve reflected negatively upon him. He’s family-oriented, knows his video games and has quite an appetite for reading.
He also enjoys playing hard-nosed defense, which led the New Jersey Nets to pursue him in 2005 (he signed with Orlando), and again – successfully – this year, bringing him over in a sign-and-trade. The self-proclaimed “NBA survivor” averaged 8.1 points and 1.8 assists for the Magic last season, shooting a crisp .468 from the floor.
We had the chance to speak to Dooling at Media Day. It’s time to Know a Net!
NJNets.com: What’s one of your earliest basketball memories?
Keyon Dooling: Wow. I have a lot, but probably my earliest basketball memory is being four years old and getting a little hoop at Christmas-time.
NJNets.com: Who most encouraged you as a basketball player?
Dooling: Early on, I would have to say my brothers. We competed against each other in everything, from Nintendo to swimming to basketball to whatever we were doing. That’s where I learned how to compete, and that’s who encouraged me and kept me in sports.
NJNets.com: You mentioned video games – what did y’all play?
Dooling: For Nintendo, it was Tecmo Bowl, know what I mean? You were earlier trying to get San Francisco or the Giants because they had some unstoppable players. Tecmo Bowl … Double Dribble … Contra we played together: Up, up, down, down, left, right, left right, B, A, Start.
NJNets.com: The Konami Code!
Dooling: Yeah, ha. But that’s where (the competitiveness) stems from.
NJNets.com: Your media guide bio claims your family is your “most treasured possession.” I know your mom’s a published author – how’s her book?
Dooling: Oh, she’s doing well. She’s a genius in my eyes. But my whole family, my wife and my kids, my family, her family– other than my relationship with the Lord, man, my family is the most important thing in the world.
NJNets.com: How often do y’all get together?
Dooling: (My wife and I) both have big families, so it’s not like we just gather and stuff like that. But we’re part of each other’s everyday life. We either speak or email or text pretty much every day.
NJNets.com: What player did you most admire when you were younger?
Dooling: [Automatically] Michael Jordan.
NJNets.com: What about him?
Dooling: Everything about him. The way he walked, the way he stuck his tongue out, the way he jumped, the way he moved, the way he chewed his gum, the way he handled himself on and off the court. Michael Jordan, I think he inspired a whole generation behind him.
I got a story: We played the Wizards when I was with the Clippers and MJ was playing on the Wizards – I broke NBA rules. I actually spied on their shootaround. I was watching Michael chew his gum and all that. I’ve always been a Michael Jordan fan.
NJNets.com: Since Jordan’s your favorite player, are you a big shoe guy?
Dooling: I like clothes and I like shoes, but not tennis shoes; that’s not my thing. I mean, except Adidas, of course. [Laughs] But I’m into fashion, I like to look nice.
NJNets.com: So who’s the most stylish guy on the team?
Dooling: I don’t know. You’ll have to ask them. I haven’t seen them dressed yet. But probably 98 percent of them will say me. But I know Bobby, because I played with Bobby, and I know Bobby’s a fly dude. Bobby, he likes to look nice.
NJNets.com: What’s the prized outfit in the Keyon Dooling collection?
Dooling: I don’t want to sound materialistic or anything like that, but I like my suits, I like a good shoe. I like everything to be coordinated, from the tie to the shoes. But I wouldn’t consider them a prize or anything.
NJNets.com: Nothing stands out?
Dooling: No favorite outfits or anything like that. As long as they look good.
NJNets.com: What’s your gameday routine?
Dooling: Wake up, eat breakfast, come to shootaround. What do I do? I do the same thing. It’s boring because I have to do a lot of treatments and stuff to get myself going before the games and after practices and stuff like that. But I take a little nap, eat again and come to the game. Nothing special, I just chill out.
NJNets.com: Any superstitions?
Dooling: Only thing I have to do before I play is pray. Other than that, nothing is a must do.
NJNets.com: Any focus when you pray?
Dooling: That’s just however I feel at the time, a personal prayer. Nothing in particular.
NJNets.com: What’s the best way to relax after a game?
Dooling: Take a hot shower, eat and then … sometimes it may take you a while to wind down because all the adrenaline is flowing, your competitive juices are going a little bit. I don’t rush it, I just go to sleep when I go to sleep.
NJNets.com: You mentioned video games earlier. Do you play the NBA ones?
Dooling: Nah. You know what? As soon as I got to the NBA, I stopped playing them. It’s weird – all my life I wanted to be on the NBA games and stuff like that. I think it had to do with a combination of starting a family, and whether you’re going to invest five hours in a season of Madden or college football or NBA basketball, NBA Live or 2K, whatever you play. I’d rather spend that time with my kids.
So if I play a game, it’s usually a one-player game. I like the Grand Theft series. I like The Godfather, that game was pretty cool to me. But other than that, I’m chillin. I like to read. I’m a reader, and that’s recently just become a big hobby of mine. Reading, fishing, spending time with family and friends.
NJNets.com: You’ve been reading a lot? What books?
Dooling: You know what? I’m reading several books. I’m reading a John (C.) Maxwell book, The 21 Indisputable Qualities of Being Leader. I’m reading this book called You, Inc. – it’s about the art of selling yourself. 6.5 Assets to Networking (Your Way to Rich Relationships), which is pretty cool. I read the Bible. And I’m reading something a little bit different, it’s called The Unseen Hand. I’m just getting in to it. It’s one of those conspiracy-type things. I read it in the morning times. I get most of my reading done then.
NJNets.com: How do you choose what’s next?
Dooling: Most of the books that I get, people give them to me, whether it’s friends, people I consider mentors or just people who say, ‘Hey, KD, I think you might like this one.’ So I would say 85 percent of the books that I’ve been reading, I’ve either heard about from somebody whose opinion I value, or they’ve been given to me. I try and read between 10-15 books a year. That might not be much, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
NBA Media Ventures, LLC | Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.All rights reserved. No portion of NBA.com may be duplicated, redistributed or